Monday, December 14, 2009

How did Houston's gay mayor win?

Lesbian Annise Parker persuaded conservative Texas's biggest city to elect her mayor—even as liberal states reject gay marriage. reports:
In what would seem a milestone for the "topsy-turvy" gay-rights movement, city controller Annise Parker, a lesbian, has been elected mayor of Houston — the largest U.S. city ever to elect an openly gay mayor. Parker, 56 — who has two children with her longtime partner – beat fellow Democrat Gene Locke, 61, a black lawyer, by a healthy margin (in a year when liberal Maine and New York rejected gay marriage).
How did she do it and what does it really mean?

(1) Low turn-out may have been a factor

(2) She ran as a conservative, not as a lesbian

(3) Parker managed to be reassuringly boring and memorable at the same time.

(4) A lesbian mayor doesn't mean much in the absence of real gay rights.

Though "a group of black pastors" and others unleashed a homophobic smear-campaign against Parker in the campaign's final weeks, says Luisita Lopez Torregrosa in Politics Daily, Parker "stood up to the attacks with grace, courage and determination which carried the day." Her Houston victory "in a conservative state where voters have banned gay marriage," is "not just a glimmer [of hope] but a huge lit-up sky" for the gay community. READ MORE